Antwork, creative co-working space

In an oasis, with a unique dynamism, creative minds are at work in the offices, meeting rooms, kitchen, garden or the technology atelier. Antwork, the ultra-connected co-working space is bustling with activity.

Behind the walls of a traditional mansion, in the heart of Beirut, lies an innovative concept. Antwork, envisioned to encourage companies and freelancers in their tedious journey, fosters community spirit and innovation. Ralph Raad, vice president of marketing and sales explains: ‘The space is thought in a way to provide flexibility for each company to have its own personalized spot, but also to stimulate exchanges between the residents.’ Between meeting rooms, individual or open-space offices, conference rooms, and common areas, members of Antwork also benefit from unusual spaces such as a tech laboratory, where they can use the 3D printer or create prototypes for electronic circuits and other gadgets, and even a runway for fashion shows. In the rooms; ACs, doors and even drinks are accessible via remote control or a mobile application. Encounters happen around a cup of coffee in the vegetable garden, in the kitchen during a cooking class organized by Kitchen Lab, or while attending a seminar on corporate law in the cozy little amphitheater. Already synergies have come about through those exchanges, between a branding studio and a tech startup, or an event planning company and a startup specialized in on demand babysitting.

Above all, the strength of Antwork resides in its technology platform. Antwork has created a work cloud, an online platform where different members of the community can contact each other, exchange, book a room, or share an event. Want to install a program to manage client data, or social media activity? Register invoices, prepare company accounting or organize employee holidays and recruitment? The Antwork software allows young companies to benefit from different customized services to accompany their development. Hundreds of members have already registered on the platform of which about one third established their headquarters at the Antwork space, on spears Street. Opened in November 2016, in a beautiful traditional building, this first space comprised of 5000m2, bordered by a 1500m2 garden, and with a terrace where barbecues and yoga sessions are planned, is Antwork’s pilot project. The co-working platform is looking to create satellite locations: a café, a restaurant or a library across Lebanon that will be activated by the Antwork technology to offer members a wide range of spaces to work from. The concept will also be exported to relay a culture of creativity, productivity and interaction across the world.

Article originally published in L’Officiel Levant – April 2017 Issue

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Paint Beirut

Behind the nowadays famous colorful stairs that give Mar Mikhael a festive air, hides a group of young and motivated artists, the Dihzahyners. Meet the artists of our streets…

With a stroke of brush, the Dihzahyners have set up to embellish our country. The project was initiated by two young creatives passionate about graffiti and urban art, Lana Chukri and Jubran Elias. They studied design and wanted to bring their contribution to Lebanon through their art. With a dozen of artists and designers graduated fro, LAU in 2011, they launched the Paint Up initiative, bringing a touch of color to abandoned or destroyed locations. Each project is prepared to make sure the end result is luminous, vibrant and in harmony with the surroundings. The young talents take into consideration the opinion of artists and local residents in order for the latter to feel involved in the project and to feel a sense of belonging with the rejuvenated space. An ingenious yet simple method to embellish our public spaces, each oasis of color and beauty show us that with goodwill the face of Beyrouth can brighten up.

The Dihzahyners have already painted 8 stairs, from Geitawi to Sakiet el Janzir, passing by Mar Mikhael. One of the stairs, filmed by VICE News London even appeared in an international ad campaign for 7UP. They scattered their art in parcs and on benches ; in Geitawi, Bourj Hammoud or Sin el Fil. With oganizations such as Beirut Green Project, Save the Children, Beirut Art Center or Live Love Beirut, they have dressed up the walls of Beirut with their multicolored palette, such as the Bourj Hammoud bridge. A non profit organization, Paint up is a collaborative initiative, and neighborhood residents as well as volunteers are welcome to contribute to the diverse projects and contribute to the creative inspiration. The Dihzahyners have recently launched the Neighborhood Initiatives, longer term projects in which entire spaces of neighborhoods are renovated. In february and march 2016, along with three local artists and many volunteers, they have rejuvenated an abandoned garden in Nabaa while offering art workshops to residents, and they do not intend to stop there. Through street art, the Dihzahyners give colour to the grey concrete that surrounds us and energy to our city .

Article originally published in L’Orient le Jour Junior – May 2016 Issue

http://www.lorientjunior.com/article/1022/peindre-beyrouth.html

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Connected Wine

The new address for Lebanese wine is online, 209 Lebanese Wine reveals the secrets of Lebanese Wines. Colours, regions and flavors, amateurs and wine enthusiasts can now get a clearer picture and share the delights of wine as true connoisseurs.

209 Lebanese Wines concept is based on three pillars: home delivery, the Wine Club, and soon an itinerant truck that will travel through festivals and markets across Lebanon to share wine and platters of cheese and cold cuts. On the online boutique, launched in October 2016 during the latest edition of Vinifest, the visitor can chose among more than fourty Lebanese Wineries. A search engine enables filtering according to the criteria of choice: wine and food pairing, grapes, price range, colour or winery. Whether you are a cheese amateur, prefer seafood, fois gras or even pizza, whether you are looking for a Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot or local grapes Obeidi and Merwah, nuanced by the multiple microclimates that characterize Lebanon, the right bottle is just a few clicks away. 209 Lebanese Wines blog addresses various wine topics : how to chose seasoning aromatic herbs with wine to enhance the taste of a meal, how to decide between the numerous bottles on a restaurant wine list or what is the correct Wine Etiquette. On 209 Lebanese Wine, a community is building around wine culture. The website offers a Wine Club membership. Members receive discovery bottles every month, can book a wine expert for a house party and are invited to tastings and winery tours.

Why 209?

Sélim Yasmine is passionate about wine. After a twenty years career in corporate marketing, including experience in the wine sector, he decided to dedicate fully to his passion while sharing it. He traveled accross Lebanon in search of wineries throughout the Bekaa, Mount Lebanon, Batroun region and the South. ‘In Lebanon there are about fifty wineries, he says, and it would be a loss not to highlight the products of our terroir.’ The name 209 was chosen in reference to the Pantone color for red wine, a trait d’union between Sélim’s passion for wine and his marketing experience. In the cellar located in the basement, adjacent to Sélim’s office, the bottles are conserved in cool conditions, and deliveries are prepared to arrive fresh to our homes. The website is making wine lovers happy, as well as wineries who now have a new outlet to boost their visibility and facilitate deliveries. A new ambassador of Lebanese Wine, 209 Lebanese Wine is considering exporting the concept carrying a terroir, a unique flavor and a thousand years history accross borders.

Article originally published in L’Officiel Levant – February 2017 Issue

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Dress Up Lebanon : The Story Begins

PhotoStory in collaboration with Kamsyn – https://kamsyn.com/2016/12/15/dress-up-lebanon-first-story/

Cozied up in Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue’s  finely decorated Hotel or enjoying the blossoming rose garden while sipping a glass of red wine, we reminisced on the days when Bhamdoun was a prized summer destination. First a village reliant on the cultivation of vineyards, from the 1940s until the civil war Bhamdoun bustled as a summer escape for Beiruti vacationers and tourists from the Gulf. They mingled in the village cafés over a game of tawlé or cards, biked in the streets or gathered for ‘thé dansant’ at one of the hotels’ ballrooms.

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Timi Hayek & Marie-Sophie Tarazi making it through the Mist / Urban Sense     Photo Kamsyn

As we set out on a journey to highlight Lebanon’s beauty, we decided to pair this historic location with the work of talented local designers: Second Street’s cool and creative shirts, Urban Sense’s casual and minimalist clothes and Timi Hayek’s elegant ensembles in hues of gold and silver fit beautifully within the charming surroundings. Models Timi, Marie-Sophie and Joelle roamed through the picturesque setting stylishly appropriating the designers’ outfits.

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The Location: Le Telegraphe de Bellevue

Nestled among the vineyards of Bhamdoun stands a beautiful mansion that served as the telegraph station of Mount Lebanon before becoming the summer residence of the French Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan.

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Timi is in Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn

After years living in the United States and London, Naji and Jill Boutros (financier and teacher, by trade) chose to settle in the village with their young family. In 2000 they started planting organic vineyards, and began producing their own fine wine, Chateau Belle-Vue. Four years ago, the project expanded as they opened a restaurant and boutique hotel, Le Telegraphe, adding colour, energy and optimism to the area while placing Bhamdoun back on the map of coveted getaways for Beirutis and tourists.

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Timi & Marie-Sophie wandering through Le Telegraphe Hotel Gardens Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn
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Marie-Sophie  Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn

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Urban Sense was born from a difficult situation turned around with brio by the dynamic founder. After studying law and working as a Communication consultant, Cynthia Chamat started managing a couple of fashion boutiques. In Spring 2014, the merchandise ordered did not arrive and Cynthia thus created her own collection to display in store, which became a success. She continues to revisit classics, gilets that can be worn as tops, reversible coats and transformable dresses, catering to all shapes and sizes. Her space Boutique Hub. in Sodeco is now a collaboration hub where a selection of Lebanese designers pieces complement each other.

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Joelle Habib Sarkis & Marie-Sophie Tarazi in Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn

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Timi Hayek is wearing Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn

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Two young ladies, Tracy Moussi and Sarah Hermez met on Second Street in Alphabet City, New York, while pursuing their studies at the Parsons School of Design. They discovered a mutual passion and desire to use fashion as a gateway to encourage talents and initiatives. At the end of 2014, Second Street was born, a brand characterized by a fresh, innovative take on the classic shirt, an emphasis on quality and fabric exploration and a socially conscious approach. Part of the proceeds is donated to The Creative Space a design school, founded by Sarah in 2011 and boosted by Tracy’s public relations know-how, offering the opportunity for free quality education to talents from underprivileged backgrounds.

To vote for Second.St in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest  Click Here

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Joelle Habib Sarkis is wearing Second.st   Photo Kamsyn
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Timi is wearing Second.st    Photo Kamsyn
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Marie-Sophie   Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle  Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
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Timi is wearing Second.st     Photo Kamsyn

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A multi-faceted designer, Timi Hayek studied Fashion Print at Central Saint Martin and interned with renowned houses Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. She was selected as part of the Starch Foundation 2014 promotion, and displayed her collection for a year at their concept store in Saifi. She then established her brand and boutique in Monnot where she handcrafts her garments in the upstairs atelier. Her style is airy, whimsical and elegant. The designer uses fine fabrics such as linen, velvet or silk that she embellishes with delicate embroideries or her unique illustrations.

To vote for Timi Hayek in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest Click Here

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Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek   Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle setting-up the Scabble board    Timi Hayek      Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle    Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn

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Seriously fun fashion

Rytta Couture’s style is fun and playful with colorful bits of embroidery, leather or hand-paint. A charming breath of fresh air on local fashion, her clothes take us outside, to the yard.

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Photo by Leo Ribet

The latest Rytta Couture collection ‘Take me to the Yard’ reflects the designer’s fun approach to fashion. She adorns her styles with multi-colored hand-sewn motifs of butterflies, birds, leaves or ribbons and sprinkles bits of leather and ruffles here and there. The collection was presented at Manoir de la Roseraie in Grignan in the south east of France, where the springtime flowers on dresses bloomed in the garden setting of the show. Rytta punctuated neutral hues of white and beige with a pastel gamme of colours and hand paints. The designer’s atelier is in Ashrafieh where she is now preparing for her upcoming collection with her characteristic laid-back creativity.

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Photo by Leo Ribet

Rytta fell into fashion from a young age. Her mother was a seamstress who created made to measure dresses and the young child would assist her in cutting and taking measurements. She was fascinated by Barbie and created mini outfits for the doll, which caught the eyes of her mom’s customers who would sometimes request the same model in real size. This encouraged Rytta to study fashion design and she then worked for a men sportswear company gaining hands on experience in sourcing fabrics, buttons, zippers and other paraphernalia that she know playfully applies to her cheerful clothes. Her true penchant was however design, and she started hand-painting shirts first for men, then for women in local markets before opening a shop. Rytta Couture’s designs can now be found at Cream in Saifi and Toxic in Kaslik.

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Photo by Saad Salloum – Skylinkd

📱: +961 3 753654
🌍: http://www.ryttacouture.com

 

Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Badaro

Developed as a residential area with a handful of restaurants and shops before the civil war, Badaro has experienced an awakening in the past couple of years and is now home to a growing number of cool cafés, bars and restaurants. On the lookout for exciting concept stores, the street at first glance seemed reticent but with some rummaging through Badaro and its surroundings turned out to be home to some striking creative minds.

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Luanatic – A boutique with a fresh and witty take on Lebanese slang. Luana, a graphic designer, spreads Lebanese talk such as Tout tout 3a Beirut and Min Habibi Ana? through posters, magnets, phone covers, mugs, bags and other daily objects. A gentle way to smile at our local quirks; the souvenirs make an amusing introduction to Lebanese distinctive expressions.

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Cocoa & Co – In the colorful atelier, tasty and sweetly decorated cookies and cakes are in the making. The owner Hala started baking at home for her children’s parties and the story of Cocoa & Co began in 2008. The sweets tell tales of cartoons, smiley faces, happy occasions and groovy creations such as a chocolate pizza with a cookie crust, topped with cereals, smarties and marshmallows.

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ByRania – In the boudoir style boutique, swing skirts, flowing gilets and modernized Abayas bring bright touches of color. The designer Rania welcomes her clients with advice and personalized pieces. She started painting on porcelain before shifting to clothing and accessories ten years ago. Rania sprinkles hand paints and graphic prints on dresses, caps and sneakers adding a pop vibe to her outfits.

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Mastike – C-Lab (Creative Lab) – A bric-a-brac of fascinating finds from local furniture designers, vintage boutiques abroad or objects created by the owners; a group of young talented graphic designers, architects and engineers who founded in 2004 the C-Lab studio located above the store. Opened three years ago, the boutique holds recycled glass blown and molded into lamps, wooden palettes from a nearby construction site turned into a coffee table, a garbage container up-cycled as a sofa and an old metro cabin phone.

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Pipe Brothers– Water pipes have taken over one section of an electronics store. About a year ago, Tony started transforming old water pipes into decorative objects. In the store, playful shapes of lamps are disposed on an ingenious bookshelf made of re-used pipes and wooden boards. Using recycled and up-cycled materials, the owner designs custom objects for homes, pubs and restaurants.

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Le Marzipan – An iconic shop in the area, Le Marzipan has been concocting Aleppo specialties since 1965. Artisanal recipes are used to handcraft the delicacies with pistachio and almonds as key ingredients. A sweet taste of tradition transmitted through delicious marzipans, sugared almonds, chocolate pralines, loukoums, rose syrup and jellab.

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The National Museum of Beirut – The beautiful museum holds testimonies of the region’s tumultuous evolution from Prehistory to Ottoman periods, with stops through the Bronze and Iron ages, the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Envisioned since the 1919, the museum was inaugurated in 1937 and later destroyed by the civil war. Renovations ended in 1999 and the museum stands again as a beacon of a rich cultural heritage for Lebanon.

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Monot

Monot street originally developed around Saint Joseph University and Collège des Jésuites. The street emerged from its scars after the war into a bustling nightlife neighborhood. The buzz has since moved to other areas and Monot is now looking for its identity. Walking down the street you will find dilapidated but charming traditional houses and buildings along some renovations and new constructions. Few restaurants and bars have remained from the 90s and some new exciting concepts are now emerging.

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Vide-Posh – The treasure hunt starts here. Vide-Posh holds coveted items for home décor; teacups, lamps, vases, clocks, hangers, tableware, jars. The owner Pascale Sloukgi selects each item with taste and also offers home décor advice. In two adjacent rooms, the bucolic themed with pastel shaded flowers, rustic woods and patina aged white furniture, and the other with more trendy touches of concrete or copper and to-do list boards, finishing touches for a dream kitchen, bedroom, living room or terrace can be found in this boutique.

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Filigrane – Customized house linen; embroidered tablecloth, hemstitched American sets, or printed cushions designed by a graffiti artist, crafted in workshops across Lebanon make up the store selection. In the 1980s, Josette Dahdah, who lived in Paris, decided to bring her contribution to a torn Lebanon. She designed house linen and partnered with women back home for sewing and embroidery, providing them with a source of income. Her daughter Youmna joined in 2009 and Filigrane is now a concept store, sharing the space with Eat Sunshine, a healthy and tasty eatery, and the events staffing company Diffa.

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Timi Hayek – The multi-talented designer featured in a previous article on the blog. In her upstairs atelier, she designs her collections then works on her machine to make each outfit come to shape after carefully selecting the fabrics. Shift dresses printed with Timi’s illustrations, long flowing dresses, wave cropped tops paired with matching pink plissé skirts or linen sprinkled with summery embroidery make up her poetic spring summer collection.

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Photo by Timi Hayek

Dodo les bobos – In a soothing pastel ambiance with a modern factory feel introduced by steel fixtures, Dodo les bobos proposes a wide selection of European branded furniture for babies and children. Cradles, shelves, table sets, lamps , bed sheets and wallpaper are displayed in authentic settings to give parents decoration ideas for their children’s bedrooms.

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La Rose de Sim – La Rose de Sim revisits Middle Eastern heritage into unique clutches and colorful jewelry. Nestled in the second floor of a beautiful old building, La Rose de Sim takes a nostalgic, and sometimes humorous look at our cultural heritage turning a characteristic ceramic floor tile, a Gebran quote or a family story into vibrant prints for the playful leather handbags.

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Oh! Bakehouse – In this mouthwatering pastry shop, the cakes and breads are gluten-free and lactose-free. The owner Rena Dagher came up with the idea after a family history of gluten intolerance, she wanted to demonstrate that eating gluten free does not necessarily mean sacrifice. With the delicious fruit pies, carrot, almond and chocolate cakes, and salty treats, the mission is now accomplished and she will soon add sandwiches to the menu.

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Le Domaine des Tourelles – Founded in Chtaura in 1868 by Frenchman François-Eugène Brun, Le Domaine des Tourelles is a pioneer in Lebanon’s winemaking industry. The winery is now owned by a pair composed of a winemaker and an entrepreneur dedicated to safeguarding the domain’s heritage. In the wine cellar named ‘La Boutique” where you can find the classic Red, White or Rosé, Marquis des Beys and the Arak Brun, a bar has been designed to host group tastings and events.

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Barjis by Janan B. – The designer Janan works with traditional fabrics and styles revisiting them in a funky modern way. She adds bright touches of colour to a Abaya, or sherwal, transforms the traditional keffia into a hoodie style gilet and complements her collection with lace or crochet tops and dresses. Most of the designs are handmade and the store also offers a line of jewelry and shoes with multicolored pompons, pearls and feathers.

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Beit Beirut – The iconic house was a residential building before it turned into a sniper landmark, located on the demarcation line during the civil war. Beit Beirut, previously owned by the Barakat family, will be turned into a museum on the memory of the war.

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